By Mark Hallum
New York native Louie Schlifstein, a former police sergeant, reflected on a life of public service as he celebrated his 105th birthday with members of NYPD’s 111th Precinct on Jan. 25.
Born in the Lower East Side in 1913, Schlifstein now lives in Brandywine Living at the Savoy in Little Neck, an assisted living facility, where he continues to have an active life.
Schlifstein’s party was attended by the 111th Precinct’s Lt. Sean Dolphin and community affairs officers.
Schlifstein, the son of Polish and Russian immigrants, remembers selling bagels with his grandmother on a street corner in the Lower East Side, where he was surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins.
Eventually moving to Brooklyn, where he attended school through the ninth grade, Schlifstein learned printing and typesetting.
He married Sylvia Lurrey in 1937, and they had two children: Richard, also known as Zev, and Dorothea.
But he did not stay in the print industry for long, and in 1941 he joined NYPD, serving in Brooklyn for about 20 years.
Upon retirement in the 1960s, Schlifstein and his wife moved to Margate, Fla. His wife died after 55 years of marriage in 1992.
But he stayed active and found a new companion in Lillian, a widow he was with for about 20 years.
Schlifstein drove until age 97 and lived on his own until age 101, when his family in Queens and Long Island decided that he move back to New York to live at Brandywine.
Brandywine staff members said Schlifstein is a character who makes his own rounds, loves jokes and has a hat for every day.
“He loves to tip his hat to the ladies,” said Xiomara Encarnacion, Brandywine’s escapades producer. “He’s amazing.”
Schlifstein is an avid reader, keeping up with the local newspapers to stay up to date on the latest NYPD news.
“He goes to the front desk every day, and even though his vision isn’t that great, he asks to see the headline on all the New York newspapers so he can see what’s going on with the Police Department,” said Rona Siaca, the marketing director at Brandywine.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by email at mhall